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Kailash Satyarthi has strong Nepal connection


By Anil Giri

Kathmandu, Oct 10:

“Extremely happy to learn that my cherished friend Kailash Satyarthi, India, and Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan, are awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2014 for their untiring struggles for the rights of the child in their respective countries and the world over,” writes former member of Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission Gauri Pradhan in his Facebook status Friday.

Kailash Satyarthi
Kailash Satyarthi

Indian child rights activist Satyarthi and Pakistani girls’ education campaigner Malala were Friday declared joint recipients of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Pradhan also called Satyarthi and congratulated him for becoming a Nobel laureate. Pradhan runs an NGO called CIWIN that also works for child rights.

“This is a great inspiration to the child rights movement of the world. Congratulations Kailash-ji and Malala-ji for your victory. We all feel great on your success,” he wrote further.

This shows how Satyarthi has cultivated his relations at a personal level across the border. There are other several instances of his sincere and long association with Nepal.

Several other Nepali human and child rights activists have worked together with Satyarthi. He is a known face in Nepal and has since long been involved in rescuing Nepali children from various parts of India.

On Aug 22, Satyarthi tweeted: “1,82,211 people rendered homeless due to heavy floods in Nepal. Come forward and support these victims. Every action matters!”

This is another example of the new Indian Nobel laureate’s strong connection with Nepal.

On July 15, his organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) rescued 18 girls from Nangal Rai of New Delhi, some of whom were Nepalis.

Such action has continued for years and BBA has rescued hundreds of Nepali children from various parts of India and given them a new lease of life or got them back to Nepal, reuniting them with their families and near and dear ones.

On June 4, under the aegis and guidance of Satyarthi and BBA, Nepali youth Basu Rai came out with his book “From the Streets of Kathmandu”, an autobiography of a street child who is now now a young man.

Satyarthi had tweeted: “Basu Rai on his way to Nepal after 16 long yrs to launch his book ‘From the Streets of Kathmandu’. Proud moment for me! Indeed. Holding Basu’s book in my hand for the first time is an emotional moment as I recall holding him on my lap for the first time in 1998.”

Then, Sep 8, 2009, Satyarthi visited Mahendranagar in western Nepal and flagged off the “Nepal March for Enforcement of Education” which was jointly organised by the Backward Society Education Nepal (BASE Nepal), BBA India and Nepal, Global March Against Child Labour and supported by numerous organisations.

It was the largest mobilisation of common people in Nepal to include free and quality education as a fundamental right in the constitution of Nepal.

In that event, then prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal urged Satyarthi to work on all fora and involve Nepal in “Fast Track Initiative on Education for All”. Later, that march crossed 1,500 km, all the way from far western Nepal to Kathmandu.

“It is heartening to see the commitment of the children, common people and activists braving the rain to participate in the largest education campaign in Nepal. Nepal is at the crossroads. It needs a strong and engaging democracy,” Satyarthi had said in that campaign.

According to the Indian media, on July 3, 18 minor girls aged between six and 16 years, belonging to Bihar, Orissa, Nagaland and Nepal were rescued.

In February 2014, two boys aged between 12 and 17 and belonging to Nepal along with a number of other boys trafficked from Navgarh village of Siddharth Nagar district in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, were rescued by the BBA from a cosmetic factory where they were forced to work up to 15 hours a day.

On May 24, Delhi Police with the help of BBA rescued Nepali children from Paharganj area following raids in garment and leather factories.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at [email protected])